Having taught for twenty years in the Los Angeles Community College system before coming to Congress, Judy Chu knows firsthand about the challenge every schoolteacher faces while balancing quality education with shrinking budgets. Her experiences have guided her efforts in Congress, where she has sought solutions to provide a better learning environment for every child.
That begins with first-rate educators. Study after study shows teachers are one of the most important factors affecting student achievement. Yet right now, our system allows children to be taught by teachers who aren't even credentialed. Rep. Chu knows our children deserve better, which is why she introduced the Equal Access to Quality Education Act, legislation that builds a high-quality teacher pipeline for schools, so our classrooms are staffed by only the most qualified and effective teachers. By putting the best teachers in our schools, we build a brighter future for our children.
Studies also show that social and economic disadvantages facing students at school make it harder to improve teaching and learning. If we don't address the obstacles outside school walls, like language proficiency, hunger, local crime and homelessness, we'll never turnaround what goes on within them. There are schools providing community-based solution for students with wraparound services like tutoring, extending learning services, health care and social supports. To help those community efforts, Rep. Chu introduced the DIPLOMA Act, which dedicates more funding for schools to build partnerships with community organizations that help students succeed inside the classroom. It is a win-win solution for our children, our schools and our community.
While we take steps to improve early and secondary education, we must also ensure a path to higher education so that every student, regardless of background, can afford a degree and keep America competitive in the global economy. That's why Rep. Chu is leading the charge to preserve full funding for Pell Grants for California's students. Pell Grants make college possible for over nine million Americans. Financial aid through Pell Grants allow for economic mobility and opportunity for students all across this country, but some on Capitol Hill want to cut this investment in America's future to save a quick buck. Rep. Chu knows it would be pennywise and pound foolish to cut this program out from under our children.